YMCA – More than Just a Song…

Before the 1978 when you heard the acronym Y.M.C.A. you may have been able to connect it with more sombre thoughts then the hit record by the Village People.

This week corporately as a nation we take some time, perhaps even just a minute, to remember those who have given their lives in service of their country. For YMCA we remember in particular the hundreds of volunteers who worked with the YMCA during the First and Second World Wars to support troops fighting in Europe and other parts of the world.

Inspired by our core objectives to work towards the wholesome development of mind, body as spirit, YMCA played a significant role in WW1 providing recreational activities for troops close to the front lines. During the war YMCA constructed cinemas in major army bases, provided sheet music and musical instruments, gave concerts, organised tournaments and handed out sports equipment, established libraries and, by the end of the war had made provision for over 1.1 million wounded service men to be housed in YMCA hostels.

It is estimated that the YMCA’s wartime expenditure totalled £243.2 million (around £5.1 billion today) which was raised mostly through membership subscriptions and donations.

Despite all this amazing work it was perhaps the simple cup of tea offered by YMCA volunteers that meant the most to the frontline troops. It was not only a chance have a short respite away from the front lines, but also the chance for conversation to talk with someone with genuine concern for them. These volunteers were committed to our soldiers, they stood shoulder-to-shoulder with them in in the trenches and some even gave their lives to the cause.

It is this same spirit that encapsulates the work of the YMCA today. Today YMCA continues to enable people to develop their full potential in mind, body and spirit. Inspired by, and faithful to, our Christian values, YMCA creates supportive, inclusive and energising communities, where young people can truly belong, contribute and thrive. We work with all young people regardless of their background, gender or faith.

Just as it was during the Great War we still stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those most vulnerable and in communities with the greatest needs.

If you would like any further information about your local YMCA and the projects we are invested in within Malvern please visit our website: www.ymcaworcestershire.org.uk or email: james.williams@ymcaworcestershire.org.uk


Christian Spiritual Development Coordinator